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Galson Estate

Supporting Communities Fund to help local response to COVID-19

Taic do Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn

Nuair a bhris naidheachd u Covid-19, stèidhich Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn buidheann de shaor-thoilich bho gach aon de na 22 bailtean anns an roinn. Chruinnich iad liosta de dh’aireamhan fòn agus stèidhich iad lìonra air na meadhanan soisealta mar WhatsApp.

Bho Barbhas uarach gu Nis air taobh tuath Eilean Leòdhais, agus le sluagh de faisg air 2,000 neach, chiadh fios a chuir gu dhan a h-uile duine air an oighreachd gus dèanamh cinnteach ma gheibh iad taic, gheibh iad e.

Community rally to provide vital support and stay connected

When news of Covid-19 broke, Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (Galson Estate Trust) went straight into action, establishing a group of volunteers from each of its 22 villages to collate a list of mobile numbers and landlines, and set up a network on the social network WhatsApp.

Stretching from Upper Barvas to Ness on the Isle of Lewis, and with a population of nearly 2,000 people, each resident on the estate has been contacted to ensure that if they need support, they will get it.

The Trust is amongst the first to have secured funding from the Strengthening Communities Fund of just over £9,000. It'll help the community deliver its local COVID-19 emergency responses over the coming months. 

 

The response from locals has been amazing with many offers of practical help to support each other.
Lisa Maclean , Trust Manager, Galson Estate

Action where it's needed

By mid-March, the team had sent out self-isolation forms, so that the type of help that everyone needed was understood well before lockdown measures were brought in. A volunteer Facebook group was set-up to share help and guidance.

Through this group, the Trust quickly identified volunteers to help deliver prescriptions from both surgeries in the area five days per week.

There is also a pick-up service running for the local crofting co-operative Lewis Crofters, who have had to close but have set up a drive-through operation to help continue crofting duties.

Among places forced to close its doors was Spòrs Nis – the community enterprise that produces Fios. The Trust stepped in to produce a free weekly community newsletter when Spòrs Nis had to furlough staff. They're also offering help for businesses, sign posting to support schemes and contacting them to find out what other help they might need.

Bookbug sessions in both Gaelic and English will be running online three times a week and there are online bedtime stories in Gaelic on YouTube, as well as gentle exercise classes to encourage residents. The Trust has also launched ‘mini beast’ activities for children who can get into the garden or the croft.

 

Benefit of Supporting Communities Fund

The Scottish Government fund, which is administered in the region by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), will cover the costs of the community newspaper production, staff, insurance and volunteer expenses as well as a video conferencing service so staff can meet virtually with others.

The Trust’s manager, Lisa Maclean says that the award will enable them to continue to deliver valuable services to the community. 

Lisa said: “Groups have been set up to build a community network of volunteers who can support people who are self-isolating or are in the at-risk group in the area. Those affected can share what support they need so that those of us so far unaffected can offer help. This might include dropping off shopping or supplies."

The groups allow for neighbours to help each other out, which Lisa believes could create a legacy long beyond Covid-19.

Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn

The estate was bought by the community under the right to buy legislation in January 2007 and stretches across 56,000 acres of coast, agricultural land and moor in the north west of the Isle of Lewis.

In April 2006, the Trust was awarded funding of £450,488 from the BIG Lottery’s Scottish Land Fund (SLF) and £188,250 from HIE for the buyout.

Galson Estate Trust website